Someone aboard the Ortega, en route to its home planet Destiny, is killing the crew members one by one.
Finding the Ortega, an old Galaxy-class transport ship in a circular holding pattern in deep space, Blake, Avon and Cally teleport over to investigate.
There they find a drugged crew, a murdered pilot and evidence of sabotage. The crew are transporting a cylinder containing an urgently needed (and hugely expensive) chemical to the planet Destiny, to prevent an agricultural disaster. This chemical, a neutrotope, is used to adjust a Sun's radiation output to help kill off some planetary fungus.
The ship's drive has been damaged, rendering it only capable of sub-light drive. To get the vital cylinder to Destiny in time, Blake offers to take it in the Liberator, leaving Avon and Cally behind to help with repairs and to detect the murderer. As they begin their investigations, more murders occur. With the cylinder safe on board the Liberator, what can the murderer hope to gain?
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